Monday, April 25, 2011

The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper
by Sarah Addison Allen

I believe this is the 4th book by author Sarah Addison Allen. She is one of my favorite "fluff" writers. Her books are are fun and easy to read "feel good" novels. I always enjoy the characters she creates and their lives in North Carolina. There is always someone or something in the story that is enchanted or has some sort of small magical powers, which is why I look forward to her books so much. In this story the magic is more a part of the past and alluded to instead of being a bigger part of the story. I did enjoy that she brought a character from her first book into the story in a small role. Of course it makes me want to go back and re-read her first novel. Since they are very quick reads, I may just do that.

Ms. Allen definitely has a formula she follows, but her reinvention of the story each time keeps me coming back for more.

Willa was raised in a small town and always felt less than equal to her classmates. Her family was one of the founding families of the town as lumber barons of the time. But when the forest was designated a national forest and logging was banned, her family lost their fortune. Although her grandmother was just a teen when this happened, Willa felt that her family was looked upon with pity or disdain. After leaving for college and then returning, she finds her own place in the town and settles down to a quiet life that she believes she was meant to live, keeping pretty much to herself.

The opposite end of the social spectrum is Paxton who has always been one of the rich and popular girls, who's family also went back several generations. She is president of the Ladies Society which her grandmother and Willa's grandmother founded in their late teens with four other local girls. Currently, Paxton is planning a 75th Anniversary Gala for the club to be held in the "Madam" the mansion originally owned and then abandoned for taxes due by Willa's family. Paxton's family has restored the mansion as a hotel/restaurant.

Along with Paxton and Willa, the story includes Paxton's twin brother Colin, who prefers to return to the town only on very short trips and Sebastian, another past classmate who recently returned to the town to replace the dentist who had retired.

Through the events of the story, the re-opening of the Madam, the planning of the gala, a mysterious skull being dug up and more, these characters examine who they were and who they thought they were in high school and who they have become since. The plot is totally predictable, but the story is fun and emotionally satisfying.

Five shots of five, but only if you are not looking for a story of great substance and import. This is for fun and fantasy only!

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